From On-Site to Remote Simultaneous Interpreting

There is no doubt that interpreting practice has changed throughout the years, social and technological circumstances have converged into landmarks in the life of interpreting: The Egyptian trade around 3000 BC in which the consecutive method of interpretation was used; the Nuremberg trials in 1945 when the first official simultaneous interpretation occurred; and now we can pinpoint the pandemic disease.

The truth is that COVID-19 has won its place as another turning point in interpreting services, like in many other spheres, it forced us to change. Until 2020, these services were traditionally divided into consecutive or simultaneous, and occasionally as on-site or remote. On-site interpretation was the standard method in which an interpreter would go to the premises of a conference, meeting, or wherever facilitating communication was needed. However, in the light of COVID-19’s circumstances -lockdowns, social distancing, and what we all know about the aftermath of the pandemic- interpreters were there to adjust. Accurate communication between cultures in Zoom, Meet, and many-other platforms became an increasing demand. Thus, interpreters had to make a quick U-turn and remote interpreting became the standard.

The conference room’s booth was replaced with remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) online tools. These were making their first steps into the market but, like most other digital tools, they were plunged into the market and forced to improve in record time. Some of the RSI tools we have used at Baquero Translations were: Interactio, Interprefy, Ulang, to mention a few. As interpreters always do, we also managed to provide remote interpreting from streaming platforms, which are not specifically developed to carry out interpreting services like Zoom, Meet, WhatsApp, and so on.

We are not sure if RSI will remain the standard since most people agree that face-to-face interaction is essential, but the truth is that for event organizers RSI has saved a lot of money in terms of logistics. They don’t need to rent interpreting equipment (booth, headsets, mics, etc.), they save on travel expenses to take both interpreters and speakers to the conference premises, they save on the rent of the venue, coffee breaks and so on.

Before COVID-19, interpreters were used to working at their client’s premises, while now, they work from home. This means that like many other people they are doing home-office with little interaction between their colleagues or clients. However, the main difference with other jobs is that sound is of paramount importance in interpreting; thus, it is a must to have the mics and cameras on all the time, which simultaneously requests a quiet place to work and avoid home noise. Despite of the resistance to adapt to the new “stay-home” model of work, the pandemic vanished the need for the interpreter to be physically present and made the interpreting market much faster, affordable and competitive. At Baquero Translations, we provide remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) for successful communication in your events.

By: Juan Andrés Baquero

KIT FOR TRANSLATOR’S DAY

Today is the Translator’s Day. Since we all have to celebrate at distance, the Baquero Translation Team has prepared a set of recommendations especially thought for the translators to enjoy in their day.

Movies

Movies are playing the main role in the field of entertainment for this worldwide quarantine, and are our first guest in this celebration. Below you will find some movies chosen for you:

*Les Traducteurs

It is a French thriller film in which nine translators, hired to translate the eagerly awaited final book of a bestselling trilogy, are confined in a luxurious bunker. When the first ten pages of the top-secret manuscript appear online, the dream job becomes a nightmare.

*Arrival

It is a science fiction film about a linguist who works with the US Army to communicate with extraterrestrial lifeforms that have arrived on Earth.

*Atlantis: The lost Empire

If you prefer animated movies, this one is about a young linguist, Milo, who goes on an expedition to find Atlantis by translating an ancient sacred book.

This movie has more linguistic details to highlight such as Milo detecting a mistranslation from many years, which is the clue to find the sacred book; speaking in multiple languages, a civilization not being able to read their own language, among many others.

*The Killing Fields

If you are not interested in science fiction, The Killing Fields is a biographical drama film about the experiences of two journalists (a native Cambodian and an American) during a civil war under Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Besides of being a journalist, the Cambodian Dith Pran is an interpreter and translates for the American journalist. This movie tells the rough hazards and life-threatening conditions under which war-interpreters work.

*Secret in Their Eyes

This movie is not about a translator nor a linguist; it is a remake of the famous Argentine movie “El secreto de sus ojos”. Thus, it can be analyzed from a localization viewpoint: observe which elements have been replaced and why, for example how the Argentine scene of a football stadium was replaced by a baseball stadium. This remake has been highly criticized, but we can appreciate the decisions made to localize into the US culture.

The above are just a handful of recommendations, you can always return to the “classics” of translation-related movies like “The Interpreter” or “In The Name of The Rose”.

MUSIC

As Friedrich Nietzsche said “without music, life would be a mistake” and we could not agree more. The Translator’s Day could not be soundless so we have prepared some playlists for you.

For Translators

To chill

  • Arancia: bossanova and samba.
  • Anana: pop and rock.
  • Paprika: house techno.
  • Artists like Jack Johnson, Maroon 5, Amy Winehouse, Black Pumas, Massego, FKJ, Angus and Julia, Caloncho.

To work

  • Do not disturb: instrumental music from Tibetan music to color noises.

To have fun

Mindfulness

We all work several hours in front of the computer, which can cause different “aches”. Plus, these working hours are not all roses. Thus, we thought on the following short videos to alleviate or stretch the back and ease the mind. TIP: if you don’t have a matt, you can use one folded blanket-or two- the comfort of your knees will determine this.

* Yoga to strengthen the lower back

* Yoga to strengthen the upper back

* Yoga to relax neck and shoulders

* Meditation to improve communication (by balancing the vishuddha chakra)

* Meditation to relax

Healthy snacks

Another characteristic of our job is that usually we do not have a fixed schedule and sometimes we are on the run to meet deadlines. Keeping in mind these 2 characteristics, we proposed 3 easy, healthy, and delicious recipes to make healthy snacks.

Coconuts macaroon without flour                         

We all hope you have a fantastic day!

BT Team

Hire a Professional!

Would you allow a Grey’s Anatomy fan to perform you a heart surgery? In the same line of thought, why your translation would be any different? Professional translation saves time, saves money, ensures quality, and generates profits.

During a press conference the WHO’s General Director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said “A number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be.” He clearly meant that there is no simple nor magical medicine for COVID-19. However, many newspapers from Spain and Latin America published the phrase “silver bullet” as “there is no cure” or “there is no solution, and there will never be”. After the Spanish-speaking community received such hopeless, fake news and the mistranslation was pointed out, some of these newspapers explained that they based their posts from Agence France-Presse (AFP), a global news agency characterized by their fast and multilingual coverage of events. The root of these Chinese whispers results to be that AFP does not hire professional translators, they only count with multilingual journalists for the posts in different languages.

The mistranslation of idioms is a typical mistake because cultural awareness is essential to be precise. Even if there hadn’t been any idioms, a professional translator should have been hired or asked to review that piece of news. Extreme care should be taken in handling information related to the current pandemic; otherwise, there can be serious health, economic, and social consequences. Going back to the abovementioned example, the names of the newspapers were highly affected as they somehow lost reliability from their readers.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the translation job is underestimated. Over a month ago, an Argentine newspaper, La Nación, posted in their opinion column “10 changas to make extra money during home quarantine”. Translation was among these changas. This was a huge act of ignorance since the slang “changa” refers to a temporal and informal work involving a task that does not require formal education; whereas, translation is a job, for which people study a university career of at least 5 years in Argentina; not to mention the continuous academic training and work experience. Translators study and work to bridge cultural gaps accurately.

Ironically, the same newspaper that underestimated translators; afterward made the public and embarrassing mistake of “silver bullet” distortion, which could have been avoided with a professional translator. The moral of the story is simple: hire a professional. The same premise applies to all jobs. Investing in professional translation is always a good option since you rest assured that the message is being transmitted correctly and in the right tone, uplifting your brand image.

By: Andrea Chetti

What Part Does Localization Play in Video Games?

What makes a video game local?

What’s the game in which the main character must eat all the dots inside an enclosed maze while avoiding four colored ghosts?

I’m sure you have answered correctly. This arcade game along with many other classics had been present in the lives of many millennials and generation X. Pac-Man is one of the first popular video games in spite of not being translated into several languages. This is due to the fact that it was primarily intended for few markets and its user interface was simple. Thus, non-English speaking users could manage to play it without having much knowledge of the foreign language.

Up to the present, video games have evolved incredibly, and there are plentiful of types to choose from, ranging from multiplayer role-playing games to construction games. They have been embellished with multiform universe, diverse characters, and more complex mechanisms than the classic arcade games. To provide a fully immersive experience to gamers from different countries, it is essential for video games to convey the necessary local flavor: they need to be localized. In the field of home entertainment, the gaming industry generates billions in revenue—imagine during a worldwide quarantine when people spend more time at home. A clear example of this profit is Minecraft. This 3D sandbox game had reached over 200 million copies sold with more than 126 million players in May 2020. Minecraft has been translated into 91 languages, including fictional ones such as Klingon from Star Trek.

Having a video game available in players’ native language allows them to have the full gaming experience, resulting in customer satisfaction. Most video game developers know that localization is key to reach foreign markets and build brand loyalty.

At first glance, video game localization may sound fun and entertaining; however, there are many aspects that make it a considerable challenge and call for great creativity and meticulousness.

Dealing with Programming code is one of the translators’ struggle. Those who are not familiar with this coding may think that it is a bunch of intertwined letters and numbers. However, experienced video game translators can be able to untangle them. It is key to understand what should be translated and what should be kept exactly as the gaming designer wrote; otherwise there would be chaos at the time of compiling the game. Expert video game translators are able to pinpoint the translatable text (strings) and non-translatable text; plus, they can use the latter as context—a hint about where and how the translation is going to be shown.

Another key defiance in video localization is the variables. Programmers usually write only 1 phrase or sentence which will be used later in different instances. Variables will replace different numbers, names, characters, gender, or objects. Thus, translators should be an adept juggler to achieve a translation neutral and meaningful enough to be used in different contexts. This is especially challenging for translations into Spanish as this language is characterized by its many gender and number inflections.

Video games also carry a great number of sociolinguistic elements, such as idioms, jokes, and sound effects. These elements not only have to be localized according to the specific target culture, but they also require a character limit. Therefore, localizing video games involves acute culture-awareness and resourcefulness in order to produce translations that sound natural for the gamer and that are short enough for the programmer to compile in its space constraints.

The above mentioned are only some of the complex aspects that entail translating video games. It is a demanding but stimulating undertaking that tests translator’s abilities and resources. Baquero Translation has expertise and proficiency in videogame localization. Playing with words is our passion. With Baquero Translation, you win!

By: Andrea Chetti